The mother of a girl declared brain dead has started an online fundraiser to get the money needed to airlift her daughter to a facility where she will be put on long-term life support, according to ABC station KGO-TV in San Francisco.
Jahi McMath, 13, was declared brain dead following a surgery to remove her tonsils and adenoids on Dec. 9. For weeks her family has been battling with the Children’s Hospital Oakland to keep Jahi on life support, even though multiple doctors say she is brain dead with no hope of recovery.
“Children’s Hospital Oakland does not believe that performing surgical procedures on the body of a deceased person is an appropriate medical practice,” David Durand, its chief of pediatrics, said in a statement Thursday.
Douglas Straus, a lawyer for the hospital, said in a letter made public Friday that before the hospital would comply with the family’s request to move Jahi, it would need to speak directly with officials at any nursing home to make sure they understand her condition, “including the fact that Jahi is brain dead” and to discuss needed preparations, including transportation.
“Children’s Hospital will of course continue to do everything legally and ethically permissible to support the family of Jahi McMath. In that regard, Children’s will allow a lawful transfer of Jahi’s body in its current state to another location if the family can arrange such a transfer and Children’s can legally do so,” Straus wrote in the letter.
He also said the Alameda County coroner needed to sign off on the move “since we are dealing with the body of a person who has been declared legally dead.”
The letter was sent to Dolan after Dolan said he was preparing a federal civil rights lawsuit to force the hospital to outfit Jahi with breathing and feeding tubes.
He said the hospital’s refusal to cooperate violated her family’s religious, due process rights and privacy rights.
Dolan also told the Associated Press on Friday that he had already obtained signed consent from the coroner for Jahi’s transfer.